Off the Record or On The Record

Sports Unplugged Guys Sports Unplugged Crowd Sports Unplugged 1 Sports Unplugged auctionNo question, it is definitely ‘on the record’ that Sports Unplugged was an unqualified success.

Initiated as a Maccabi Canada fundraiser to support the Adopt-an-Athlete program for the 2013 Maccabiah, 350 attendees were treated to the humor and wit of some of Canada’s best known sports media personalities in this unique sports event. Thousands of dollars were raised as many athletes and supporters from various parts of the country took the opportunity to mingle, exchange stories, and to bid on unique items in a silent and live auction.

ESPN’s Dan Shulman, a member of the Maccabi Canada’s Pan American silver-medal basketball team that competed in Brazil recently, hosted the event in the arena-shaped hall complete with stadium seating and giant screens which kept everyone close to the action.

Shulman said that in addition to the silver medal, he brought home ‘memories to last a lifetime’.

“I will never forget the way it felt,” he said reflecting on the semi-final victory over host Brazil in front of a raucous group of Canadian athletes and fans who came to support the Canuck hoopsters. Shulman said that volunteering his time for ‘Sports Unplugged’ to help deserving athletes make the trip to the 2013 Maccabiah was an opportunity for him to give back to the community.

Shulman was joined on stage in a Michael Landsberg ‘Off the Record-type’ setting with Landsberg, Shi Davidi, Elliote Friedman, Gordon Kirke, Nelson Millman, Steve Simmons and Mike Wilner. While the guests joked and expressed their opinions in their areas of expertise, there were also ample opportunities for discussion and questions with the audience as well. Toronto-based teams and personalities were the targets for most of the evening’s discussion.

“It was a unique sports event opportunity,” said Maccabi Canada President Tommy Bacher as he praised the organizing committee and volunteers for their hard work in getting the event off the ground. “Everybody recognized the effort it took to put on such an event.”

“They (guests) were blown away. It wasn’t just an ordinary dinner. They were part of the event. They were not just there to support it.”

Bacher said that while substantial dollars were raised for the Adopt-an-Athlete program, the process and value of bringing such a large group together and the contacts being made before,during and after the event was immeasurable in terms of future impact.

“Sport has the power to change the world,” said Bacher.

With Sports Unplugged still fresh in everyone’s mind, the busy Maccabi Canada events calendar continues with coach and player selections for the 30 teams being sent to the Maccabiah in 2013. In addition, planning for the Sports Challenge/Picnic at Camp Robin Hood on June 10 is well underway. With 10 teams competing in the five-sport challenge and a day full of activities for families at the picnic, the day promises to be a lot of fun.